We celebrated an early Thanksgiving yesterday, since my dad and I will be in Liberia during Thanksgiving. My grandma, aunt, and cousin (on my dad’s side of the family) came over for dinner around 2:00pm. We had traditional dishes of turkey, mashed potatoes, and cranberry sauce, as well as some more unique items like acorn squash and pumpkin cheesecake. Needless to say, everything tasted amazing. But it was strange to think that this year I’ll be in Africa on Thanksgiving. I wonder where I’ll be and what I’ll be doing. One thing is for certain, from now on, the day will certainly hold new perspective.
In the midst of the busyness of life, Thanksgiving is a day that forces us to count our blessings. How easy it is to forget all we have to be thankful for! In the evenings, my dad has been reading a book to the family called Gratitude by Barbara Rainy. The book talks about how to intentionally look for ways to give thanks in all circumstances.
1 Thessalonians 5:16 says, “In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
Tonight we read about Matthew Henry, a Puritan preacher in the late 1600s. One night, after being robbed in the street, he wrote in his journal: “I thank Thee, first, because I was never robbed before; second, because altho’ they took my belongings, they did not take my life; third, altho’ they took everything I had, it was not much; and fourth, because it was I who was robbed and not I who robbed!” What perspective on a challenging and unnerving situation!
Mrs. Rainy applies this practice of looking for the best in each situation into practical terms for modern-day living. She writes, “Is it possible that God is using that slow driver in front of you to protect you from a wreck? When you lose a valued possession, might God be teaching you contentment? When someone in your life is being difficult, could God be giving you an opportunity to pray and see what he will do?” (p. 7).
In light of what we’ve been reading, I want to take the time to look at some challenging situations this week and find a reason to praise God.
1. Our dryer broke on Wednesday. I am thankful that it broke before we left for Liberia, so that mom did not have to deal with it alone. I am also thankful that we could find a new washer and dryer set for 25% off.
2. I have been sick this past week. I am thankful that I got sick during a week where I could sleep later in the mornings. I am also thankful that I got sick last week, so that I can have this week, before I leave, to recover.
3. It was raining on Saturday when we were filming our dance trailer, and our video camera stopped working. I am thankful because the cloudy skies provided the perfect lighting and mood for our trailer. I am also thankful because another dancer just happened to bring along an extra camera.
I know I’ve already written so much tonight, but there is so much to share! Above you can see a picture of six of the dancers who were part of the trailer shoot yesterday morning. (Yes, we are barefoot in 50 degree weather!) We were filming a trailer for our spring dance concert, which will be supporting Abide Family Center (www.abidefamilycenter.org). The night before, my dad and I were commissioned by my dance group to go to Liberia. It is so wonderful to know that I am representing Children of the Light during my time in Liberia. And it is a huge comfort to know that I go with their prayers and support! This morning, my dad and I were also commissioned and prayed over at church. We are part of a larger body. Even though we are going physically, all those who have supported us through prayers and financial support are connected with our team. Together, we are looking to establish the kingdom of God on this earth.
This time next week, I’ll be in Liberia. Please continue praying for preparation!
– – Phebe